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John Saunders


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Tournament: 100th Varsity Match • Venue: RAC Club, Pall Mall, London • Date: 13 March 1982
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1981 • Forward to 1983 • last edited: Monday March 18, 2024 9:03 AM

The 100th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, London on 13 March 1982. Match referee [arbiter] was Harry Golombek. The sponsors were Lloyds Bank. Only three full game scores available (boards 1, 2, 5 and 7 - also part-games for boards 6 and 8) - can anyone supply other scores?

1981«     1982 Varsity Chess Match     »1983
Bd Oxford University Rating 1982 Cambridge University Rating
1b Kenneth Wingate Regan (Merton) 2420m 1-0 Michael Paul Townsend (Downing) 2235
2w William Nicholas Watson (Merton) 2330 ½-½ Nicholas Wilson Ivell (Magdalene) 2360
3b David H Cummings (Keble) 2305 1-0 Allan William Beardsworth (Clare)  
4w Timothy J Upton (Queen's) 2295 ½-½ Peter Picton Taylor (Trinity)  
5b John J Cox (Corpus Christi) 2285 1-0 Stuart Howard Niman (Trinity)  
6w Erik Oskar Michael Charles Teichmann (Magdalen) 2285 ½-½ Gareth Anthony (Trinity Hall)  
7b John Crofton Hawksworth (Jesus)   ½-½ Clive Anthony Frostick (Trinity)  
8w Maria Eagle (Pembroke)   0-1 Penelope Anne Coxon (Newnham)  

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, May 1982, p178-181; The Guardian, 20 March 1982; The Times, 20 March 1982; thanks to Nick Ivell and Clive Frostick for supplying their games.


If one takes as read what Harry Golombek said in his 1981 match report in BCM, this was the first match in which the eighth board hitherto referred to as the 'ladies' board' counted as part of the official match score and not just as a tie-breaker in the event of a 3½-3½ draw. I would be grateful for any further information regarding this matter - John Saunders, March 2017.

The Guardian, 20 March 1982 (Leonard Barden): "The major universities, and in particular Oxford, Cambridge and London, are a traditional seedbed for British international talent. Four of our five GMs have an Oxbridge background; the fifth. Miles, declined a place in the belief that a stiff academic course would slow his chess advance.

"The phenomenon of graduate grandmasters is not solely a matter of aptitude. It is better explained by tournament chess logistics. The years between 17 and 22 are critical for bridging the gap from promising junior to international expert.

"Any occupation, other than student prohibits the necessary time for a minimum of three to four major events annually, each lasting a week or more; while few have the mental energy, to tackle opening theory after a bad day at the office.
High standards in university chess normally produce a crop of IMs a few years later. By this index, British prospects continue bright.

"Last Saturday’s Oxford v. Cambridge 100th fixture, held as usual at the RAC and sponsored by Lloyd’s Bank, brought together two teams of international veterans. Cambridge’s board seven has played twice in the Lloyd's Bank Masters, Oxford’s held his own in the last Grieveson Grant British Championship. Further up the batting order were IM norms and high FIDE ratings. Oxford won 5-3, but Cambridge would have outclassed most winning teams of the previous 99 years. The same weekend at Gothenburg, England with a team composed mainly of Oxbridge graduates, beat Sweden 9½-6½ in the European championship after being 7-1 ahead. England were bronze medallists in the 1980 European event and may do better in next year’s finals, but they still have something to learn from the great Soviet teams of the 1950s and 1960s who used to outclass opponents in the first round of a match and put the boot in again in the return. [games P.Littlewood-D.Cramling, K.Regan-P.Townsend] ... Regan, a US international master and Marshall scholar from New Jersey, is the first American to lead Oxford’s team for some 70 years."

From the BCM report, May 1982, p178-181, written by Bernard Cafferty: "What was deemed to be the 100th Oxford-Cambridge University Match took place at the RAC in Pall Mall, London, on Saturday, March 13th [1982]. One cannot say other than deemed, since the arithmetic of the affair has so many contradictions. The first official match, initiated partly by Steinitz (at the time that he was coaching Lord Randolph Churchill) is agreed to have been the one of 1873. This means that an annual fixture with no breaks would have had its centenary in 1972, so a full ten missing years have to be accounted for, not just 'the few dubious status matches of wartime years’ as mentioned in one source."

"The BCM for 1954 described the match of that year as the 70th, while Bill Hartston in the Encyclopedia of Chess gave the score after the 1978 match as 36 wins to Oxford, 44 to Cambridge and 18 draws, so pointing to 1980 as the correct centenary! The missing ten years have been arrived at, it seems, by the sensible formula of not counting 1915-1918 and 1940-1945 inclusive.

"I must not labour the point further, but the confusion does highlight the frustrations and pitfalls of being a chess historian.

"It had been hoped to have a match between 'distinguished alumni' of the past, but this fell victim to the fixture congestion referred to in the Editorial last month, notably the Sweden-England match in Gothenburg. Still, there were some distinguished figures there. I noticed Raaphy Persitz, J.B. Sykes (of dictionary fame) [John Bradbury Sykes (1929-93) was a noted lexicographer and physicist - he played in the Varsity chess matches of 1949, 1950 and 1951, winning on all three occasions - JS] and Sir Stuart Milner-Barry amongst others, but they all seemed to have arrived after the photographer left, so the photo of the official guests is rather full of 'neutral parties' such as Harry Golombek and Bob Wade, who acted as judges and made the adjudication of the Lloyds Bank best game prizes."

"The more international nature of our universities was also shown when top board for Oxford was taken by a Marshall scholar from the USA, IM Ken Regan. His victory at the end of the session set the seal on an Oxford win by the score of 5-3."

1982 Varsity Chess Match
Ken Regan (Oxford, white) vs Paul Townsend (Cambridge) watched by (left to right) Bob Wade, Bernard Cafferty, Adrian Hollis and Harry Golombek. (Photo Lloyds Bank)

File Updated

Date Notes
2018 Uploaded for 1st time
18 February 2020 Added the score of Hawksworth-Frostick. Many thanks to Clive Frostick for supplying the score.
6 January 2022 Added the complete score of Cox-Niman. Many thanks to John Cox for supplying. He tells me it was adjudged to be the best game of the match by Ray Keene, adding "it wasn't a vintage year!"
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